Gelekhter is the best medicine

Gentlemen, there are two easy ways to impress me. The first is to do things I can do way better than I can do them, even though I can do these things reasonably well (like ordering just the perfect item on the menu or laughing at inappropriate times). The second is to do things that I can’t do at all.

First and foremost among the talents I wish I possessed was the talent to tell a good joke. It’s an art form, really, a talent honed over years and years that transforms into art. Which is why, even though they are strangers, anybody that appears on Old Jews Telling Jokes is somebody I want to know. The stripped down and sophisticated-looking site features a new video of an old Jew telling a joke every Tuesday and Thursday.

As the site’s editor explains, “Storytelling is a Jewish tradition…Jokes are like stories, but shorter and funnier…Some of the best ones provide a window to the culture of a bygone era. They can reveal the concerns of a generation… We set three rules for the production: the joke-tellers were to be Jewish, at least 60 years of age and they were to tell their favorite joke—the one that always kills.” The results are touching and human and hilarious and full of love. Larry Donsky, Louis Goldstein, Malcolm Busch, Diane Hoffman, you all have an open invitation to my next party. To any party.


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March 2009: You, me and green

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